Australia

Woman accusing Jack de Belin of rape was bruised, court hears

The woman who alleges she was choked as she was sexually assaulted by NRL star Jack de Belin had marks consistent with being grabbed around her neck later that day, a court has heard.The doctor who examined the woman – who cannot be named for legal reasons – on Friday told the Wollongong District Court…

The woman who alleges she was choked as she was sexually assaulted by NRL star Jack de Belin had marks consistent with being grabbed around her neck later that day, a court has heard.

The doctor who examined the woman – who cannot be named for legal reasons – on Friday told the Wollongong District Court that on the afternoon following the alleged assault, the then 19-year-old had several marks and bruises on her body.

Mr de Belin, 29, and Callan Sinclair, 23, have pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated sexual assault, claiming that the woman consented to intercourse in a North Wollongong townhouse in the early hours of December 9, 2018 after drinking at a bar.

However, the woman has said that Mr de Belin grabbed her throat during the alleged assault and she feared she was going to lose consciousness.

“I felt like I was going to pass out – that’s how hard he was choking me,” the woman previously told the court.

Dr Ann Ellacott performed a nearly one-and-a-half hour medical examination of the woman at the Wollongong Hospital sexual assault unit on the afternoon of December 9.

She marked in her report that the alleged victim had a mark on the right side of her neck and was complaining of pain in her right shoulder, back and the front of her chest.

She was asked by crown prosecutor David Scully if “such a bruise could be caused by a hand applying force to the neck”.

“It could,” Dr Ellacott replied.

However, under cross-examination by defence barrister David Campbell SC, Dr Ellacott said she recorded in her report that the woman was exhibiting no “post-assault symptoms” relating to her neck or abdomen.

The jury was also shown 10 photos of the alleged victim taken by NSW Police two days later that showed a bruise on the left side of her neck.

Dr Ellacott said the bruise was not present on the woman when she was examined on December 9.

“Is it possible for a force to be applied on the 9th of December 2018 and for a bruise not to show up until the 11th of December 2018,” Mr Scully asked.

“Yes,” Dr Ellacott said.

Dr Ellacott also said that during her examination on December 9, she did not observe any injuries to the woman’s genitals.

She however noted: “In the minority of sexual assaults we would see an injury.”

Mr de Belin’s lawyers said there were errors in Dr Ellacott’s report, noting she had recorded that the woman reported she had gone swimming between the assault and being examined.

“I would suggest that’s a mistake on my part,” Dr Ellacott said.

“You’re very careful in the way you prepare this report aren’t you … And above it you’ve written ‘bathed more than once’ as well,” Mr Campbell said.

“I have and that’s incorrect also,” Dr Ellacott said.

Meanwhile, a key witness who admitted lying to police was on Friday forced to deny that he had also been untruthful during his evidence.

Troy Martin, who lived in the townhouse where the alleged assault took place, on Thursday told the court that he had walked into the bedroom to find Mr de Belin and the woman naked along with Mr Sinclair, who was fully clothed.

According to Mr Martin, Mr De Belin soon emerged, still naked and said: “Sorry mate, just borrowing your house, didn’t realise anyone was home.”

His version of events contradicted the woman’s testimony when she said she never saw a fourth person in the unit.

Mr Martin admitted to lying to police, initially telling them that he had woken briefly before going back to sleep.

He came forward in October last year and provided a statutory declaration setting out the version of events to which he testified to in court.

However, he admitted that he made the statement to RMB Lawyers, who were representing Mr de Belin, and not the police or the department of public prosecutions.

Under questioning from Mr Scully on Friday afternoon, Mr Martin defended his testimony.

“What I want to suggest to you is that you were standing and you did see things in that room, but once the door was closed, Mr de Belin did not exit the room and have any discussion with you, he did not exit the room at all,” Mr Scully asserted.

“I disagree,” Mr Scully replied.

The trial before Judge Andrew Haesler will continue on Monday.

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